Rep. Scott DesJarlais has introduced legislation aimed at exempting families of deceased veterans from paying taxes on forgiven student loans.
According to a news release from DesJarlais, three years prior to Carpenter's death, he took out a private education loan.
Although the company agreed to completely forgive the debt following his passing, members of Carpenter's family soon learned that the discharged debt would be factored into their gross taxable income for that year.
The legislation from DesJarlais would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from collecting taxes on any amount of loan forgiveness for families of deceased veterans. It would not make it mandatory for private loan companies to forgive loans—a practice that is already in place for federally-backed loans under the Higher Education Act.
"I am humbled to have the honor of working with the Carpenter family to introduce this legislation," DesJarlais said in a news release. "It is a fitting way to fix a glaring problem in our tax code, while paying tribute to the memory of Lance Cpl. Carpenter."
If passed, the law would have a retroactive effective date of Oct. 7, 2001, the start date of military operations in Afghanistan. It is DesJarlais' fourth piece of legislation since taking office last year.
The bill was co-sponsored by seven members of the Tennessee delegation, including 3rd District Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. It now awaits review in the House Committee on Ways and Means.